Back in 2008, our most recent moment of deep economic crisis before the coronavirus, we watched Wall Street get bailed out during the Great Recession and average working people get shut out. The just-passed $2.2 trillion corona relief package rates as much more mixed, thanks to strong activist pressure for a more equitable deal.
Back in 2008, our most recent moment of deep economic crisis before the coronavirus, we watched Wall Street get bailed out during the Great Recession and average working people get shut out.

The just-passed $2.2 trillion corona relief package rates as more mixed, thanks to strong activist pressure for a more equitable deal. The legislation includes direct cash assistance and expanded unemployment benefits that includes gig and tipped workers.

But undocumented immigrants and the poorest Americans gained little from the deal. And the package also contains a $500 billion corporate slush fund, to be doled out with minimal accountability by Treasury Secretary (and frequent petulant plutocrat) Steven Mnuchin.

Progressive groups are already gearing up for the next legislative battle, demanding a people’s bailout that prioritizes health for all and economic relief for communities over corporations. More this week on what the new corona relief package gets wrong and the groups fighting for a coronavirus response rooted in solidarity. Stay safe!

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Illustration of a crowd wearing masks
International Solidarity in a Time of Crisis
The spread of coronavirus should be a reminder that the most pressing global emergencies of our times know no borders. But our economic and political leaders are taking advantage of this moment of crisis, heightening nationalism all while they funnel money toward corporations while leaving our healthcare systems out to dry. Justice is Global, a project of the grassroots organizing network People’s Action, has brought together a panel of researchers and organizers to plot out a progressive internationalist response to the global pandemic. We have their story.
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headshot of Boeing CEO David Calhoun
Bluster Out of Boeing: A CEO’s Hardball on Help
David Calhoun, the chief exec at troubled aerospace giant Boeing, wants dollars from America’s taxpayers. What he doesn’t want: taxpayers looking over his shoulder. Early last week, a “truculent” Calhoun blasted the idea of giving U.S. taxpayers a share of Boeing’s stock in return for bailout aid. If Congress insists on an equity stake, Calhoun told Fox Business, “we’d just look at all the other options, and we have got plenty.” Calhoun didn’t have to look far. By week’s end, Congress had OKed $17 billion in loans and loan guarantees for “businesses critical to maintaining national security” — a euphemism for Boeing — without requiring an equity stake. But that congressional generosity didn’t impress Calhoun, possibly because accepting federal dollars might jeopardize the “massive” bonuses his current contract will move his way when Boeing’s fatally unsafe 737 MAX finally returns to service. Noted U.S. treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin this past Friday: “Right now Boeing’s saying they don’t need” federal help. What Boeing most certainly does need: the $43 billion the company has squandered on stock buybacks since 2013.
workers retrofitting a house
Reduce Energy Inequality and Create Good Jobs!
We’re going to need massive public investment to spur a U.S. economic recovery once Americans can safely return to non-essential jobs. We’re also going to need to learn from the post-2008 crisis experience, when the recovery investment ended up much too modest, especially for low-income and people-of-color communities, and did little to reduce fossil fuel dependence. Energy efficiency retrofits, Institute for Policy Studies Climate Justice Project director Basav Sen argues, must be a core element of any corona recovery plan. The resulting lower utility bills would disproportionately help low-income Americans. Energy efficiency investment in “shovel ready” projects would also create lots of good jobs. Every $1 million invested in such building retrofits creates an estimated 11.9 jobs, compared to only 3.7 jobs in oil and gas.
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assorted CEOs stand with Trump in the White House Rose Garden
Why CEO Pay Belongs in the Virus Bailout Debate
Taxpayers should not have to subsidize massive paychecks for top executives to gain relief for working people. Unfortunately, the compromise deal passed by Congress last week doesn’t come close to protecting taxpayers from having to do that subsidizing. Top executives, under the legislation, get to keep their first $3 million in annual compensation, plus half of whatever above that they took home in 2019. co-editors Sarah Anderson and Sam Pizzigati have more.
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This week on 

Elise Gould and Heidi Shierholz, Not Everybody Can Work from Home. Black and Hispanic workers are much less likely to be able to telework.

Bama Athreya, A Pandemic is No Time for Precarious Work. Sending people to work in dangerous conditions with no safety nets and benefits will always be inexcusable, especially in the midst of a deadly virus.

Jen Moore, Guatemalan Water Protectors Persist, Despite Mining Company Threats. A peaceful resistance movement marks eight years of struggle against a gold mining project that threatens scarce water supplies.

Elsewhere on the Web

Robin Young and Allison Hagan, While Some Wait For COVID-19 Tests, The Wealthy Cut The Line, Here and Now. Private services for the rich – like concierge doctors – disincentivize investments in health care and other public services.

Robert Reich, Ignore the bankers – the Trump economy is not worth more coronavirus deaths, Guardian. CEOs, billionaires, and advisers want people back to work. They could not be more callous or wrong.

Tobita Chow, A Cornered Trump Scapegoats China, Inviting Racist Violence. The greatest threat to the U.S. comes from our own unaccountable elites and the corporations that seek to profit off crisis.

Nick Shaxson, Could the wealth in tax havens help us pay for the Coronavirus response? Tax Justice Network. The response to the corona crisis has so far only been radical on the spending side.

Debora Hayes and Michael Kink, Wealthy citizens can help NY fight coronavirus, Buffalo News. New York State has more billionaires than anywhere else on the planet, 112 at last count.

Mindy Isser, Workers Are More Valuable Than CEOs, Jacobin. Low-wage workers make our society run, not bankers, landlords, or CEOs.

Rob Reich and Mohit Mookim, The Dangers of Relying on Philanthropists During Pandemics, Wired. Why we should never be dependent on the whims of wealthy donors for our collective health and well-being.

Ben Phillips, You’re not being bold enough, Global Dashboard. Crises have often been important in enabling progress — creating critical junctures or moments of possibility — but crises alone have never been enough to secure success for those fighting inequality.

Luke Taylor, When coronavirus is behind us, will you still think of restaurant and bar workers? Vox. A world of runaway economic inequality leaves our foundations shaky.

Igor Popov, Seven Ways Coronavirus Will Reshape the Housing Market, Apartment List. In the midst of our current pandemic, housing inequality will only grow.

Mark Greenblatt, David Heath, and Aysha Bagchi, Open Wide: Dentists Pressured To Drill Healthy Teeth, Ex-employees Say, Newsy. Private equity kingpins invade dentistry. What could go wrong?

Jack Kelly, CEOs Should Take Pay Cuts Before Firing Workers — Especially If They’re Getting Bailed Out, Forbes. We need to learn from the 2008 financial crisis.

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